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Title: Jane Austen’s Novels: A Narrative of Ethical, Social, and Sexual Power Politics
Keywords: Language
English & Old English
English writing system & phonology
English entomology
English dictionaries
English grammar
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: University of Peshawar.
Abstract: Jane Austen’s Novels: The Narrative of Ethical, Social, and Sexual Power Politics February 2012 MA, University of Peshawar PhD, University of Peshawar Directed by: Nasir Jamal Khattak, PhD (Amherst) Most of Jane Austen’s novels, especially Pride and Prejudice, make readers conscious of the realities of life in an entertaining way. We relate to the experiences of the characters and laugh with them in their moments of absurdities and weaknesses. Their follies and hypocrisies, their worries and sorrows, their limitations and compromises with society and others reflect us and our traits. We see these characters move around us even today. In struggle for survival and living a desirable life, some succumb to the pressures of the social, ethical, and sexual politics. Such people choose on the standards of what the society considers “appropriate,” “desirable,” and “practical.” While others deviate from the social norm. And while they apparently make life difficult for themselves, they end up having a better and productive life. Such is the irony of life. All live it; some with pain and misery in it; others with peace of mind and happiness in it. Pride and Prejudice shows how with the passage of time societies and their denizens undergo a change, but that there are some who are too rigid to keep pace with the changing times. This behaviour on part of these characters makes them the butt of the laughter of others. However, there are others, who through their intelligence and consciousness adjust themselves to the changing times. The problems that her characters confront are our problems and so we live in the novel with them. Like her characters we too are self-centered, proud, and conscious of our persona with such extremity that we forget the existence of others. Wrapped up in the pursuit of our desires we trespass the rights of others without any regard for them. In the struggle for “desirable” survival, the characters indulge themselves in social, ethical and sexual dilemmas which are part and parcel of human existence irrespective of time and place. Instead of looking at their partners as their extension, most of the Austen’s characters “otherize” their relatives, friends, and partners. Some of Austen’s characters learn from life as they experience different ups and downs due to the choices they make in their lives. Others continue to perpetuate the misery that has become their lot due to the compromises they have made. The likes of Elizabeths and Darcys have numerous problems in the beginning to find their soul mate. Once they find one, the remaining part of their life is productive, peaceful, and prosperous. They go through the mill of power, social, and sexual politics of their society but emerge successful and choose wisely. The others, like the Collins and Charlottes, choose their partners on the prevailing standards of their society. The duality in their beliefs and deeds undo them and their life. They opt for a short cut in making choices for themselves and end up in a life which is full of challenges, boredom, and indifference to the well being of each other. Both these kind of life come with their prices and consequences.
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